A twelve point swing in Saturday's first half action on Hall of Fame Night at the Barton Gym turned the tide in favor of the 19th ranked Cougars as the Barton Community College men's basketball team would roll on to a twenty-one point 89-68 victory over Dodge City Community College to sweep the season's series.
The fifth straight win keeps Barton in the thick of the conference race improving to 12-4 and 21-4 overall with Dodge City suffering their eighth straight defeat in dropping to 2-14 and 7-18 on the year.
The Cougars have a pivotal week with a trio of conference games, the first coming Monday in a road trip to surging Colby Community College for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off. The Trojans, one game behind the Cougars in third place at 11-5 and just two games out of first, are the second hottest team in the West with four straight victories to stand at 16-9 on the season. Aside from trying to hold off the Trojans, Barton will be looking to avert a season sweep as Colby won the first game 75-70 January 19th at the Barton Gym.
Barton trailed by seven after the first seven minutes of the annual night of recognizing former Cougar greats. Battling back to take their first lead in a near ten minutes behind a pair of Elijah Ford buckets with 6:21 to play with Leondre Washington adding to the margin with a pair of charity tosses.
The Conquistadors tied it up at the 4:30 mark but the Cougars got red hot from behind the arc with Washington knocking down three and John Williams adding another two long distance shots as Barton would bury 9-of-19 three pointers in the first half. Washington capped Barton's 19-7 stretch with an old fashioned three pointer before the halftime horn putting giving the Cougars a twelve point edge to the locker room.
Dodge City knocked down a trey to begin second half play but it would be the last time the difference would be under double digits in the final 19:48.
As the Cougars methodically worked on increasing the lead, Washington's sixth trey and Breontae Hunt's tip-in preceded Ford's steal and transition layup as the 7-0 spurt pushed the lead to a twenty-five point margin. The Cougars reached a twenty-five point gap on three more additional occasions, Dallas Bryson's jumper just under seven to play, Diovonte Caldwell's jumper at the 6:25 mark, and Bryson's three-pointer with 5:53 left to tie Barton's most three pointers made in a game this season at twelve.
Washington finished just a point shy of a career high, scoring thirty points on 10-of-16 shooting, canning four of his six three-pointers in first half play. Ford chalked up his sixth double-double since January with a fifteen point and eleven rebound performance in just twenty-two minutes of action while Martin Vogts dished out a career high seven dimes to go along with ten points. Bryson led the Cougars in doubling-up the Dodge City bench production in scoring nine points with Williams and Akeem White each posting seven point nights.
The Region VI's leading scorer and rebounder Jyrus Freels was held to five points below his average but still led the Conquistadors in a sixteen point and eleven rebound double-double night. Joe Petrakis's 4-of-7 effort behind the arc led to fourteen points with Mason Senigaur dropping in two treys towards an eleven point tally and Mike Burns contributing ten off the bench. Another region leader for the Conquistadors, Justice Dixon dished out his season average of dimes in distributing six on the night.
Barton finished 12-of-26 behind the arc to match the made effort of two other games this season and one behind the November 3 effort of thirteen. Overall, the Cougars shot 55% on the night to increase their region lead while also getting it done at the free throw line in sinking a season second best 78.6% on 11-of-14 tosses.